Jerod Mayo Q&A, 5/1

Posted on May 1, 2008 
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Here’s the transcript of the recently completed Q&A with Patriots’ first-round pick Jerod Mayo at Gillette Stadium:

On the most surprising thing about the process…
Just being able to come into a winning situation. I never thought I’d be on a team that lost only one game last year. I’m excited to learn from some of the great vets and become as good as those guys are.

On your first thoughts…
I’m just excited. I’m overwhelmed, really. Just sitting in Mr. Kraft’s office, sitting there talking with the owner of the team really overwhelmed me. I’m ready to get my playbook and start learning this defense.

What did you talk about?
Just about life in general, and how the process has been. Just being a Patriot now. The winning tradition here. I’m, just excited to be a part of it.

What were you thinking about while you were sitting in his office?
How far I’ve come, pretty much, from being a little boy in Hampton, Virginia, to here now. It’s just exciting.

Are you psyched to put your mark on this franchise?
I definitely am, whether it be this year, or years to come. I’m just going to sit back and learn from the greats. Guys who have been winning championships before me. Hopefully, they’ll be winning them with me. So I’m excited.

What do you want Patriots fans to know about you?
That I’m a hard worker and I’m going to come in here and contribute to this team in any way I can, whether it be on special teams or as a starter. I’m coming to make a contribution and help bring a championship here.

On what kind of player he is…
Hard-nosed, always trying to make a play. Downhill. A contact guy.

On comparisons to Al Wilson…
Al is a good friend of mine. I really don’t like comparing myself to other players, but he’s a Pro Bowler, so hopefully, I’ll be able to accomplish some of the things he did.

Have you talked to any of the other guys here yet?
No, not yet. Not yet. I just got here.

On first impressions of Gillette?
Like I said earlier, I’m just overwhelmed. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. It will tonight when I’m in the hotel room, so ask me that tomorrow.

Is it a little bit like the first day of school?
It definitely does. It feels like the first day of school. The day before the draft, it felt like the day before Christmas. I was trying to go to sleep at 7 o’clock. Waking up at three in the morning.

Why do you think you fit into the organization as far as philosophy and how they go about their business?
First and foremost, it’s all about business. It’s all about winning. They like to win games, and this organization is committed to winning games. Sitting down with Coach Belichick and him explaining how I fit in the system is really exciting to me. It had me excited. I’m just excited to get my playbook.

Are you ready for what’s ahead of you, the ribbing and all that stuff?
I’m definitely ready. I definitely am. I’m going to be a sponge here, just try to pick up things from each and every one of these veterans on the team, and hopefully, I’ll have a great career like a lot of them have.

You might be picking up their equipment too…
[laughter]. That’s no problem. You have to start somewhere. Same thing as a freshman at Tennessee.

What has the week been like since Saturday?
It’s been pretty good. My family is not really big, so I don’t have people tugging at me every way, which is fortunate for me. I’m just ready to get here and go to work.

What was your first reaction when you got the call from Coach Belichick?
I was suspicious, to be honest. You ask him, it was a little pause in the conversation. I couldn’t believe it. I’m just elated to be here.

Have you been to New England before?
On my visit. That was it. That was it.

Anyone recognize you at the airport?
No, not yet. Hopefully, in a couple of years. [laughter]

Have you spoken to any one of the other players? Has anyone called you up?
Not yet. I just got here. I just got here.

You were in the SEC — all these cameras and microphones, this is nothing for you…
It’s kind of overwhelming right now. I feel like a little boy again. At the same time, I’m just going to relish the moment and enjoy myself.

How did playing in the SEC prepare you for life in the NFL?
You hear so much about how the SEC is like the minor leagues of the NFL, but, if you come from college football in general, it’s still going to be a step to take, a transition period there, and I’m willing to take that step and work hard to make that transition a lot easier.

Do you know that Bill Belichick likes to serve his players large portions of humble pie?
[laughter] I’ve heard. I’ve heard. I’m sure I can take it. I’m sure I can take it.

What do you know about Coach Belichick?
He’s a great coach, a championship-winning coach. I’m not sure of his style yet, because I haven’t been on the field with him, but at the same time, I’ve had all sorts of different styles of coaches, so I think I’ll adjust pretty well.

On where he sees himself fitting in on this defense?
To be honest, I’m not sure. I feel like I can play either one of the positions. Until I get my playbook and sit down with my linebacker coach, then I won’t know until then.

Did any tell you what to expect?
Not really. They just want me to be a football player, pretty much.

Any thoughts on what you number is going to be?
I’m not sure yet. I’ll let you know soon.

Where did the No. 7 come from in college? Kind of a strange number for a linebacker…
It is. I started off with 53, and then 7 became available, and I wanted a single digit number. I was 10 in high school, and 7 was just available for me.

Any significance to No. 7?
No. It’s God’s number. [laughter]

Is this one of those first moments it hits you that you’re in the NFL?
It’s going to hit me once these cameras are out of my face. It definitely has hit me, walking out here with the Krafts. I’m just ready to put my pads on now and hit somebody.

Now that the whole pre-draft process is done, can you tell us which franchise was the one that asked you if you ever cheated on your girlfriend?
I knew I was going to get this. I don’t even remember, to be honest.

Can you compare this to anything else in your life?
You can’t. You can’t. There’s nothing … I’m trying to think of something eight now, but I really can’t think of anything.

Is this worse than a spring day at Tennessee with 100,000 fans watching?
I mean, I wouldn’t say it’s worse. I’m just excited and overwhelmed by all of this.

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